Planting organic cabbage seeds will grow heads that can vary in size up to 8 pounds depending on variety and growing conditions. They can be used in salads, cooked with meals, made into sauerkraut, or stored for several months. Colors vary from pale green to dark green and deep reds. While it is considered a cool season crop, it does require soil temperatures of at least 50 degrees for maximum germination rates. They are one of the members of a group of foods called cole crops which includes broccoli and cauliflower. Once started, organic cabbage seeds will achieve their ultimate growth without becoming bitter or bolting when temperatures are in the 60’s.
Cabbage can be planted in the garden during both spring and fall. Start organic cabbage seeds indoors in the spring, approximately 10 weeks before the last frost, or start them outdoors in cold frames. For fall planting, start them indoors earlier, approximately 12 weeks before the first expected frost, so they will have longer to grow before freezing. Transplant the seedlings outdoors after 5 weeks. The soil should be in a sunny location and prepared with organic fertilizers and/or manure to be rich and moist. Plant the seedlings according to package directions, allowing ample space for large varieties.
Protect the cabbage seeds and plants from drying out during germination and growth. This can interfere with germination of the seed as well as making the cabbage head bitter. Use organic growing methods such as using row covers rather than sprays to protect the cabbage from being infested with cabbage worms. Be sure and place a collar around the seedlings when planting them in the garden to protect them from cutworms. Hand-pick bugs from the plants and leaves as necessary. Harvest the heads when they’re firm, before splitting.
Preserve organic cabbage seeds by allowing some plants to go to seed rather than harvesting from them will ensure adequate supply for planting the following season. Cabbage heads can be refrigerated, made into sauerkraut or hung upside down in a mesh bag in a cool dry area for later use. When doing the latter, the outer leaves will dry out and need to be removed prior to use. Cabbage provides a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, including A and C.
Organic cabbage seeds are available for growing a variety of sizes and colors. Carefully read catalog descriptions to determine which variety will perform best in your own area. Gardeners who have missed the opportunity for a spring and summer crop will still be able to plant for fall. Plant organic cabbage seeds with a variety of growing times for maximum use. The following are a few favorite organic and heirloom cabbage seeds:
- Late Flat Dutch Cabbage Seeds- For size this is the monster to pick. It averages up to 12 pounds, but has been known to grow up to 38 pounds in size! The 104 day season means it must be planted indoors earlier than some varieties.
- Organic Red Express Cabbage Seeds – This is a spectacular deep reddish purple color that will add intense beauty and flavor. It features a short 63 day growing cycle and 2 to 4 pound heads.
- Organic Golden Acre Cabbage Seeds – This variety grows uniform heads that can be harvested between 2 and 4 pounds. It’s long been popular with home-gardeners and offers a short 62 day season. l
Many organic cabbage seeds and heirloom cabbage seed varieties are available for the home garden. They are perfect for use in stir frying, chopped into salads and made into coleslaw, as well as sauerkraut.